Seven weeks ago, Darrin Manning, a 16-year-old honor student, was minding his own business. On a record cold day in Philadelphia, he was wearing a hoodie and scarf on his way to play in his charter school’s basketball game. That was enough for Officer Thomas Purcell to make it his business to stop him. In Purcell’s worldview, a young black man is “acting suspiciously” when he bundles up against the cold.
Following the illegal stop, frisk and arrest, a white female police officer patted down Darrin. During the course of her illegal pat down, she grabbed Darrin’s testicles. Twice. Less than 24 hours later, he underwent emergency surgery at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. His operating physician wrote:
He [Darrin] was involved with an encounter with the police department during which his scrotum was grabbed and he reported acute onset of left testicular pain.
Those are some of the facts highlighted at today’s press conference. In attendance were Darrin’s lawyer, Lewis Small; his mother, Ikea Coney; Veronica Joyner, founder and chief administrative officer of the Mathematics, Civics and Sciences Charter School of Philadelphia; and Paula Peebles, chair of the Pennsylvania State Chapter of the National Action Network.
In calling on District Attorney Seth Williams to drop the charges, Attorney Small said:
What happened to Darrin is a case of stop-and-frisk run amok.
The fact that Darrin did not have a weapon and in fact is not a criminal seem to have no relevance to the police. Darrin was stopped for no reason. He was arrested for no reason. He was subjected to a brutal attack for no reason. The charges made against Darrin are not supported and should be dropped.
Darrin Manning has suffered enough. It’s time for the District Attorney to withdraw the charges in this case. It’s time to end this injustice.
Darrin and his mother have suffered enough. The trumped-up charges won’t shield the Philadelphia Police Department from being held accountable for engaging in a pattern or practice of stops and frisks undertaken without reasonable suspicion.